San Diego Report: Yellowfin and bluefin still on the menu

DONE DAMAGE – More Veteran’s Day bluefin for the Pacificai out of Seaforth Sportfishing.

SAN DIEGO – After that last big blow, it was a question whether the offshore bite would hold up. The water temperatures dropped, but the first few days afterward proved that it would both down south in Mexican waters for schoolie yellowfin, and out west at the banks for bluefin including the big boys. Then the weather came up again out west Thurs. through Sat. derailing the bluefin bite, but the yellowfin kept chewing as close as full-day range from San Diego.

H&M Landing representative Heather Ferrari said the bite down south was on yellowfin averaging 5 to 12 pounds – footballs. “It has been fun, full speed fishing,” she said. “The Old Glory had triple digit numbers Thurs. and Fri.” Those counts included 145 Friday and 105 for a lighter load Saturday. The Legend and Daiwa Pacific also ran overnight and averaged similar yellowfin numbers.

Yellowtail limits were also common on some trips to points south. Those were mostly firecrackers or even smaller kelp fish, and seemed to serve as a fall-back. A few holdout dorado ate hooks and took a ride back north.

FULL-DAY RANGE – Yellowfin tuna aboard the Grande on Saturday.

Water temperatures in full-day range of San Diego were down to the mid-60s to as warm as 68 degrees in the most southerly zone of this range, yet the bite persisted, although at times for the full-day boats it was hit or miss. For instance, Saturday the Grade found a willing school of yellowfin and ended up with 102, plus 34 yellows and 22 skipjack. A day earlier the count was 139 yellowtail, 17 yellowfin, 9 skipjack and 4 dorado.


Nate Patolai, manager of the H&M Tackle Shop, recommended anglers stock up on No. 1 and 2 hooks for the bite down south, laced onto 25- to 30-pound fluorocarbon. Poppers, ColtSnipers, and small 85- to 110-gram Daiwa SK jigs are good artificial additions to an angler’s tackle box.

Out of Fisherman’s Landing and Seaforth, the angler-friendly numbers bite down south produced big November counts. For example, on Saturday out of Fisherman’s the Condor returned from a 1.5-day with 145 yellowfin, 22 skippies and 22 yellows, plus a solitary dorado. The Tribute out on an overnight from Seaforth Landing returned Friday with 70 yellowfin, 22 skipjack and 48 yellowtail.

FRIDAY HIT – A Tomahawk cow. The boat returned to Fisherman’s Landing with 14 bluefin including 3 over 200 pounds.

Now let’s look at the outer banks bluefin bite, which produced impressive fish mid-week. Standout boats include the Pacific Queen and Tomahawk out of Fisherman’s Landing. On Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, the Queen returned from a 2.5-day with 9 bluefin over the 100-pound mark, including a 341-pound super. This boat and several others at multiple landings will work the outer banks bite into Dec. as long as the weather and fish cooperate.

That same day the Tomahawk came back into San Diego Bay after a 1.5-day trip with 16 anglers, and they landed 8 bluefin tuna between 150 and 235 pounds. Friday they were back again from another 1.5-day trip, this time with 14 bluefin including 3 over 200 pounds! The biggie went 275. The fish were caught on bait, kite bait and Flat-Falls.

BETTER MODEL – Jason Webster with a 15-pound yellowtail on the Old Glory.

The Pacifica out of Seaforth also returned on Veteran’s Day with a big catch of 26 bluefin including 2 over 200 pounds.

By press time, no post-wind event reports were available from the outer banks with the likely exception of the Aztec out of Seaforth, which returned from a 3-day Sunday. It was a tough go, with 7 yellowtail and 5 bluefin for 25 anglers.

LOBSTER SEASON is in full swing. Here’s Tien Cao with a solid lobster onboard the Alicia.